Dunning’s mistaken on water rates

By From page A6 | February 19, 2013

Bob Dunning disputed that the cost of providing the capacity to deliver water in the summer can’t be six (it’s actually five) times the variable costs (e.g., energy, etc.) of delivery. Yet he provides no evidence to the contrary.

On the other hand, the Water Advisory Committee has done the calculations, which I’m sure they could share with you, showing these cost allocations. That cost calculation will be sufficient to meet Proposition 218 requirements.

As a longtime consultant on water and utility issues, I’m not surprised by the 5-to-1 cost ratio. The largest portion of the costs is in the fixed construction costs to build the capacity that you need to water your lawn during the summer. Those costs don’t vary with how much you change your usage during the winter months. Our system peak usage is in the summer and we all share in that responsibility.

The beauty of the consumption-based fixed rate model is that you can avoid a portion of that charge by conserving during the summer. You are not doomed to pay a fixed portion regardless of usage, which would be the traditional way of collecting the fixed capital costs for a new water supply. You now have control over your bill.

I’m sorry to see that those of you who are water guzzlers are unwilling to step up and pay your fair share. You would rather that the rest of us continue to subsidize your usage.

Richard McCann


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